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Health coalition gathering votes for hospital cuts referendum

Posted: May 12, 2016

(May 12, 2016)

Author: Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles, The Nugget

Hundreds of North Bay and Area residents were stopped Thursday outside of Shoppers Drug Mart and No Frills on Lakeshore Drive as part of a province-wide referendum.

The vote is to stop service cuts at Ontario hospitals. Organizers hope to collect 100,000 signatures across the province, including 10,000 in North Bay.

The voting ballot states “Ontario’s government must stop the cuts to our community hospitals and restore services, funding and staff to meet our communities’ needs for care.”

The public is asked to mark an x in the box – yes or no.

Mike Bisaillon, a local organizer who was standing outside Shoppers Drug Mart, said the feedback has been very positive.

“People are walking up to us and sharing their stories. This campaign has certainly started a dialogue.”

Members of the Ontario Health Coalition have been asking residents to vote and participate in the referendum

The coalition continues to warn the public that inadequate funding translates into “real dollar” cuts to global hospital budgets, resulting in reductions to staff, services and beds.

In North Bay, the group says more than 300 full-time, front-line and support staff have been cut since 2013 and 60 beds have been closed.

People who want to vote can also go to the local Ontario Public Service Employees Union office at 573 Fraser St., as well as Rapport Credit Union Ltd. at 945 Stockdale Rd.

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